(OK, lets try this again. This is an update to a submission I canceled a few days ago.)
Castelian is a puzzle platformer in which the basic gameplay is to discover the route necessary to ascend towers from bases to apex.
Per the story in the game manual (see below), your frog-like character is tasked with demolishing these towers by planting a bomb at each tower's top (wouldn't bombs around the bottom be easier?). This game was also released on multiple other systems under one of the following names: Nebulus, Kyorochan Land, Subline, and Tower Toppler. Apparently the story varies slightly on the different releases.
The only actions your character can do are to move around the tower horizontally, jump, and shoot little white balls to break flashing ledges or kill enemies (though most enemies are invulnerable to this attack).
Story (from the manual)
JUST ANOTHER DAY IN JEMMERVILLE
You're witnessing a typical sparkling, summer morning in downtown Jemmerville. Both suns have risen over the planet Centrus, where summer, of course, is the only season. And it is here, on the island's precious gem-deposits are talked about throughout the Triangulum galaxy, and they're the envy of almost every life-form in this corner of the universe.
Julius was asleep in his terraineum when the holographic intercom sprayed out its message. It was the president of Domoloco and Sons inc.:
"Julius we have a serious situation. The governor has reported that 7 alien towers have surrounded the island. If one more appears, the island will be completely enclosed. The naviports are almost cut off. The hyperfreighters are trapped... nothing is getting in or out. I've given the governor my personal promise that Domoloco and Sons would handle these towers... No one knows what they are or where they came from but I want them demolished! Now that's not too difficult a mission, is it?"
Julius slowly opened his eyes and found that the president's personal hologram - not the one of his secretary - was still activated:
"Wake up, Julius, and topple that tower!"
As Julius started to say something, the hologram began to dissolve as quickly as it had appeared.
- Delays in motion were intentional to either avoid an enemy or manipulate their spawn point.
- Only one game setting was changed for this video.
- The game is played on the more difficult mode (HERO) instead of the default (NOVICE).
- Interestingly you can only play the game with EITHER sound effects or music.
- For this video I chose sound effects. My previous withdrawn submission used music, as I erroneously reported that no desync occurs from removing the input to switch from SFX to music. What I've discovered since then is that while no desync for movement input occurs, adding the 'Select' input at frame 153 in TAS editor to yield a music playthrough results in 1,470 additional frames of lag over the course of the run. 1,470!!! Again the movement input is unaffected by this SFX/Music switch and the resulting playthrough is identical otherwise, just longer due to more lag.
- What may appear to be arbitrary jumps are usually avoiding stepping or landing on a platform that would otherwise disappear, causing a fall.
- Bonus levels - in which you are supposed to collect gems for points - are ended as quickly as possible by either enemy strike or falling in a hole.
- Occasionally an enemy strike on a tower is necessary to make progress or to facilitate reaching a desired location easier. Usually the enemy hit is the one shaped kind of like a molecule.
- There are a TON of lag frames where input is not read and relatively few places to minimize lag. (Except by using SFX instead of music.)
- The final input is the 'up' press that enters the door at the top of the last tower.
Notes Regarding Re-Submission
After submitting my first run, I was pointed to a youtube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Itq_MVTCXuk
of the Japanese version (Kyorochan Land). That video used some slightly different routes than my original. This submission uses some routing from this run, so credit to that runner for finding faster routes. There are differences between the Japanese and US versions that affect comparison though.
- Obviously the playable characters are different sprites between the versions.
- The Japanese version has an added password system.
- A button press is necessary to clear the stage titles in the Japanese version.
- In the very first tower, it is possible to get past the 1st molecule enemy via the elevator on the Japanese version, but not on the US version using equal input (everything up to this point appears otherwise identical). This results in a longer wait,ultimately longer video, and probably some minor RNG changes as well.
- I'm curious if the the reason for this discrepancy is from the character's hitbox being different between the versions. Or perhaps it is just minor programming differences affecting spawn timing of the enemy.
: While this movie appears slower than a Japanese run, the difference appears to be almost entirely due to lag differences, and one version-exclusive trick early in the run. Comparing in-game time, while this run loses one in-game second in the first stage (due to aforementioned trick), in all other stages it matches or beats the Japanese run in in-game time. Therefore, I judge this run as technically superior. Accepting for the Vault.